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Unlawfully Carrying a Weapon

The right to keep and bear arms is found in both the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution and Article I Section 23 of the Texas Constitution. State law in Texas, however, still places certain restrictions on the exhibition of weapons.

Unlawfully carrying a weapon, often referred to simply as UCW, is a crime that is commonly a misdemeanor but can be a felony offense in certain circumstances. Many people commit this crime unknowingly, and a person’s culpable mental state plays an important role in satisfying the legal definition of a violation.

Plano Unlawfully Carrying a Weapon Lawyer

If you or your loved one were arrested for an alleged unlawfully carrying a weapon offense in the greater Plano area, do not assume that your only option is to plead guilty and hope for the mercy of the court. You have the right to defend yourself against the criminal charges.

The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy defends clients in communities all over Tarrant County. Call (469) 304-3422 or contact us online to receive a free consultation.

Unlawfully Carrying a Weapon Charges in Collin County

Texas Penal Code § 46.02(a) establishes that a person commits the crime of unlawfully carrying a weapon if they intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly carry on or about their person a handgun or club and are not:

  • on their own premises or premises under their control; or
  • inside of or directly en route to a motor vehicle or watercraft that is owned by them or under their control.

Under Texas Penal Code § 46.02(a-1), an individual also commits unlawfully carrying a weapon if they intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly carry on or about their person a handgun in a motor vehicle or watercraft that is owned by them or under their control at any time in which:

  • the handgun is in plain view, unless the person is licensed to carry a handgun under Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Government Code, and the handgun is carried in a shoulder or belt holster; or
  • the person is engaged in criminal activity, other than a Class C misdemeanor that is a violation of a law or ordinance regulating traffic or boating, prohibited by law from possessing a firearm, or a member of a criminal street gang.

Both of the offenses listed above are classified as a Class A misdemeanor. The crime becomes a third-degree felony if the alleged offense is committed on any premises licensed or issued a permit by this state for the sale of alcoholic beverages.

Texas Penal Code § 46.02(a-4) provides that unlawfully carrying a weapon is a Class C misdemeanor when a person:

  • intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly carries on or about their person a location-restricted knife;
  • is younger than 18 years of age at the time of the offense; and
  • is not on their own premises or premises under their control, inside of or directly en route to a motor vehicle or watercraft that is owned by them or under their control, or under the direct supervision of a parent or legal guardian of the person.

You will notice that all of these alleged offenses will require a prosecutor to prove that a person acted intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly. These are known as culpable mental states.

Texas Penal Code § 46.03 classifies culpable mental states according to relative degrees, from highest to lowest, as follows:

  • A person acts intentionally, or with intent, with respect to the nature of his or her conduct or to a result of his or her conduct when it is his or her conscious objective or desire to engage in the conduct or cause the result.
  • A person acts knowingly, or with knowledge, with respect to the nature of his or her conduct or to circumstances surrounding his conduct when he or she is aware of the nature of his or her conduct or that the circumstances exist. A person acts knowingly, or with knowledge, with respect to a result of his or her conduct when he or she is aware that his or her conduct is reasonably certain to cause the result.
  • A person acts recklessly, or is reckless, with respect to circumstances surrounding his or her conduct or the result of his or her conduct when he or she is aware of but consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the circumstances exist or the result will occur. The risk must be of such a nature and degree that its disregard constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of care that an ordinary person would exercise under all the circumstances as viewed from the actor's standpoint.
  • A person acts with criminal negligence, or is criminally negligent, with respect to circumstances surrounding his or her conduct or the result of his conduct when he or she ought to be aware of a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the circumstances exist or the result will occur. The risk must be of such a nature and degree that the failure to perceive it constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of care that an ordinary person would exercise under all the circumstances as viewed from the actor's standpoint.

Unlawfully Carrying a Weapon Penalties in Texas

Possible consequences of a conviction will depend on how your crime has been graded. Depending on the classification, convictions may be punishable as follows:

  • Class C Misdemeanor — Fine of up to $500
  • Class A Misdemeanor — Up to one year in jail and/or fine of up to $4,000
  • Third-Degree Felony — Up to 10 years in prison and/or fine of up to $10,000

Unlawfully Carrying a Weapon Defenses in Plano

Some alleged offenders in these cases may be able to argue that the weapons involved in their cases were not in plain view. Some weapons might not satisfy the state definitions for the weapons.

Police may not have had probable cause for a search or an arrest, and some weapons may have been secured through an illegal search and seizure. Also keep in mind that certain people are exempt from UCW provisions, such as certain members of the military, court officials, security officers, and others.

Plano Unlawfully Carrying a Weapon Resources

Penal Code Chapter 46. Weapons | Texas Statutes — View the entire chapter of state law dedicated to weapons. Texas Penal Code § 46.01 is dedicated to definitions for various weapons. You can learn more about places weapons are prohibited under Texas Penal Code § 46.03.

Types of Weapons | Federation of American Scientists (FAS) — The Federation of American Scientists (FAS) provides science-based analysis of and solutions to protect against catastrophic threats to national and international security. On this section of its website, you can learn more about types of weapons and problems resulting from excessive accumulation and availability of small arms and light weapons. You can also find information about modes of accumulation and transfer and policy options for dealing with the negative effects for small arms and light weapons.

Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy | Plano Unlawfully Carrying a Weapon Attorney

Were you or your loved one arrested for allegedly unlawfully carrying a weapon in Plano or another community in Collin County? You will want to be sure that you retain legal counsel before going to court.

The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy will work to help you achieve the most favorable possible outcome to your case. We can answer all of your legal questions when you call  (469) 304-3422 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

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